One of the many joys of writing and reporting on the various autism stories for Autism Daily Newscast is finding those stories about children on the autistic spectrum that make you smile and think that all is good in the world, such as all the latest stories about children receiving birthday messages from all across the globe. However yesterday was not one of those days.
I happened to read a story, which has now gone viral about an 11 year old boy with autism, living in Michigan who while sat in his classroom got his head stuck in a chair. This in itself is most upsetting but what upset and made me feel both anger and disgust was the teacher's reaction to this incident. Instead of helping the clearly distressed boy she chose instead to film the incident on her mobile phone in front of the whole class. This is what is truly shocking and indefensible.
According to various news sites and what we also reported on here, was that the teacher can be clearly heard asking the boy if he wants to be tasered and then when the principal enters the room he can be heard saying that it is not an emergency. The child's head was stuck in the chair for ten minutes. Words absolutely fail me.
I know that I am living in the UK and this happened in the United States but this is barbaric. Any child, regardless of disability should not be mocked and humiliated in this way by a so called professional. Where is the compassion for this child? Where is the understanding and wanting to relieve the hurt and stress? Instead she chose to inflict humiliation. What is absolutely unbelievable is that this so called teacher is still employed by the school although on paid administrative leave.How can this happen? This woman should be sacked.
This child has been treated inhumanely and my heart breaks for him. I could not help thinking about my own little boy when reading the story and thinking of how he would feel in the same situation. Or for that matter of how I would feel.
Why film it? This is what I cannot get my head round? Why do something like that? How could she stand there and watch this little boy in so much distress and film him and not help? What has really shook me up though is that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, what really goes on in our schools and services which look after out vulnerable children on the spectrum, this is what has upset me the most. We do not know all that goes on. For all the fantastic and dedicated staff out there who work tirelessly for our special children there will undoubtedly be vile and uncaring, insensitive people like this individual and this frightens me.
Children and adults with autism are vulnerable and open to abuse and this incident highlights this. It once again shows me just how vulnerable my little boy is. Even if staff have training and education about Autism Spectrum Disorders and associated difficulties and needs there is no training for compassion, caring and decency. This is what frightens me the most.